Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine inclusion: vaccination programme - phase one

An overview of the inclusive approach adopted during the first stage of the COVID-19 vaccinations programme (December 2020 - September 2021). This includes examples of health board approaches and activities delivered in collaboration with stakeholders, and national programme activity and support.

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4. Accessible transport and venues

Programme objectives:

People find travelling to vaccination centres more accessible, so travel is not a barrier to attend their vaccination appointment.

People are encouraged that vaccination clinics will have the facilities and support
to enable them to access their vaccination.

Examples of national programme support:

As well as the steer to provide a mixed model of both appointment and drop-in clinics, a self-help guide on NHS Inform was developed to support people to find their local 'open access' (or drop-in) clinic for each health board.

Health boards were encouraged to map locations of their clinics to ensure venues were accessible to those from areas of deprivation and where there was low uptake.

The British Red Cross National Volunteer Co-ordination Hub offered volunteer support to all health boards with flexibility to meet the needs of each clinic. Volunteer roles ranged from meet and greeters to make people feel relaxed, to car park attendants, to supporting with accessible transport.

Offers of support from the local community and business which had been sent to Scottish Government were passed on to the relevant health board for consideration. These varied and included support with transport and venues.

Examples of health board approaches and activities:

Some health boards operated mass vaccination sites to deliver vaccinations as close to communities as possible, some were out of town to offer ample parking facilities. Pop-ups and mobile clinics attended areas with lower uptake rates to accommodate those unwilling or unable to attend due to working shifts or unsociable hours.

Many clinics offered quiet spaces for those who may need time-out or a private place to receive their vaccination. Support with interpretation was offered at many venues, either in person, on the phone or through a mobile phone app.

Health boards were encouraged to ensure that an accessibility audit was undertaken for all clinic venue sites.

Some examples of accessible venues and transport include:

  • NHS Ayrshire and Arran: Tokens for free bus travel to and from vaccine appointments were added to vaccine appointment letters. This was to ensure low income was not a barrier to travel to access vaccine clinics; a drop-in clinic offered quieter times for appointments, early morning appointments and space and time for people with learning disabilities to attend with key workers.
  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway: Worked with local authority and British Red Cross to supply transport to vaccination clinics. Their local transport helpline was advertised across social media posts and shared widely with the local Equality and Diversity Working Group to promote with contacts (membership of the group included disability organisations, third sector organisations, citizens advice and other local equality group representatives).
  • NHS Forth Valley: Operated a door-to-door car service titled 'Dial-a-journey' for all people who needed assistance to get to their appointment - this was a crucial service for people without ready access to family/friend support, and provided additional support for people with sensory impairments (visual and hearing). Offered a minibus in Alloa to transport people with limited ability from the main bus stop to the vaccination centre due to the location being on a hill.
  • NHS Grampian: Engagement with North East Sensory Services to provide advice locally to those with visual impairments to enable them to attend appointments safely; subtitles added to walk-through video for Press and Journal Live to support those who are deaf / hard of hearing; seasonal agricultural workers were taken by bus to clinics with interpreters present.
  • NHS Lanarkshire: Arranged with Strathclyde Passenger Transport to have two free shuttle buses operating to enable people to access vaccine centres.
  • NHS Western Isles: Provided transport for people to attend clinics; provided localised clinics for rural areas of deprivation.



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